A Glorious Sunset
by William Luff
14th May 1850 ~ 1st Oct. 1935
Our beloved friend was called to higher service on October 1st, 1935, and among his vast collection of Poems and MSS., which he has left to the Editor of ''Threshed Wheat", we found the following paper, which seemed very suitable for insertion at such a time.
A GLORIOUS SUNSET
By the Late WILLIAM LUFF
"WE shall read of this in to-morrow's paper," said my companion, as we watched one of the most glorious sunsets I have ever seen, and which a little girl who was with us described as "Gorgeous." Sure enough, next day we read,
"Londoners saw a glorious sunset last night. The heavens were a blade of crimson. Over the green and blue of the deeper spaces, a dappled sheen lit up a silver sea of purple cloud islands. Far flung from east to west, were streamers and fleecy pennons of cloud."
We had enjoyed nine hours of sunshine, but now the Royal Monarch was about to leave this part of his domain, and was giving his benediction ere he departed."
Sunset means the end of the day; and the end of our life-day will come. What about our sunset? Will even the clouds be lit up with glory?
What a wonderful sunset Stephen had! Stormy, so far as man was concerned; but the clouds were the mirrors of Heaven. He told the truth to the people, and Heaven opened! What a vision with which to close the day of life, a vision brighter than any sunset!
"When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.
"But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit" (Acts 7:54).
The glory of a sunset depends entirely on the sun. No company can get up a sunset, like they do certain films for a cinema. If our sunset is to be glorious, the glory must come from the Sun of Righteousness. "The Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory" (Ps. 84:11). Grace for the day, and glory at the sunset, clouds that have threatened us morning and noon, will become luminous at evening. Many a gloomy day has finished brightly. Birds that are silent all day, often tune up at even-tide. "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God" (Ps. 42:5).
It is cheering to remember that the hour of all sunsets is fixed by God; and so is the sunset of every life, whether it be dull or glad. Accidents and diseases may seem to cause the sun of our day to go down at noon; but to the child of God, all is ordained. Job asks, "Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth?" And he adds, "All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come" (Job 7:1; 14:14). He felt he was a hireling, and the day of toil was long, causing him to wish for sunset.
All sunsets are not like the sunset described above; and it is not given to every saint to see glory with mortal eyes. Some of God's children are put to bed in the dark. Elijah went home in a chariot of fire (II. Kings 2:11); but no other was so honoured. There was darkness around the death hour of the King of kings. His sun set in a night at mid-day. Some go singing; others
"Fold their tents like the Arabs,
And silently steal away."
Sometimes, as the gates open for a newcomer, a little of the glory shines out; at other times a cloud receives them out of our sight. A child, looking up at the stars, said, "If the wrong side of Heaven is so beautiful, what must the right side be?" May we have the words a little altered, and ask, "If the glory of a sunset is so magnificent, what will be the grandeur of the sunrise?" A sunset is not the end of the sun. He will rise again; and so shall we. I wonder how Adam and Eve felt when they watched their first sunset. How alarming! No doubt God told them the lights would return. Do we fear our sunset, the close of our little day? Another day is promised, an everlasting day, that will never know a night, for "there is no night there."
Ezekiel says, "The hand of the Lord was upon me in the evening" (Ezek. 33:22). May this revealing and healing hand be upon us in our evening.